Women’s History Month


Maddy Bergey, Editor

Just over thirty-six years ago, Congress passed Public Law 100-9, which designated March as “Women’s History Month.” Though this month originated as just a day and eventually a week, it is now presidentially recognized. Overall, this month is an ode to women and the figures they have held as well as contribution they have made on political, cultural, and social levels. Often, these figures, their unique positions, and contributions are overlooked; well-known examples include Susan B. Anthony to Rosa Parks to Martha P. Johnson.

According to “Women’s History Month” on their website, it started as a local, single-day 1978 celebration in Santa Rose, California, where a group of people planned and executed it. Eventually, this spread through the nation, as places around the country began to have their own women’s celebrations the consequent year. Just two years later, a specific group of women along with historians attempted to persuade politicians for the celebration to be nationally recognized. After the convincing and passing of the law, every president since 1995 has issued a proclamation March as Women’s History Month.

To highlight some important women figures throughout history, let’s talk about their contributions. To start off, Susan B. Anthony is a well-known advocate and suffragette. Along with another women’s rights activist—Elizabeth Cady Stanton—they traveled giving speeches to educate others about giving women the right to vote. Despite some people disagreeing with their beliefs, the two women persisted, as they were admired by many. Furthermore, Susan B. Anthony was arrested in 1872; her crime? Voting. National attention was on the situation and issue at hand after this point.

Many people know Rosa Parks for the fact that she proved one single word to be a full sentence: no. As many know, Rosa Parks helped to initiate and advance the women’s rights movement by refusing to give up her seat on a bus. Despite the  patriarchy being prevalent in this situation, the systemic racism and oppression were also key factors in the way this pivotal situation played out. Rightfully so, a boycott of the transportation within Montgomery followed this event in order to create a silent and peaceful protest.

Lastly, one of the women advocates was Martha P. Johnson, who primarily fought for gay liberation. She was one of the most prominent figures in the movement for queer rights. Highlighting this, she was one of the key figures who fought back against police officers at the Stonewall Inn. Later within her life, she—as a transgender woman—actively spoke out about the transphobia even within the gay rights movement. Beyond that, she also cofounded an organization to protect trans youth and became a drag queen.

Despite the societal change that has been provoked since these situations happened many decades ago, there are still large strides that must occur in order to fully recognize women as equals to others. Along the same lines, in order to make change in one realm, change must also simultaneously be made in various other realms to dismantle systemic racism and remove bias surrounding sexual orientation.

Works Cited

Hayward, Nancy. “Susan B. Anthony.” Womens History, 2018, www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/susan-b-anthony. Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

“Rosa Parks.” History, 11 Jan. 2023, www.history.com/topics/black-history/rosa-parks. Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

Rothberg, Emma. “Marsha P. Johnson.” Womens History, www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/marsha-p-johnson. Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

“Women’s History Month.” Womens History, www.womenshistory.org/womens-history/womens-history-month. Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.